Alfred Groves: A Historic Family Business

… from the Wychwoods Albums Archive

The Groves’ family has been associated with quarrying and building at Milton since the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century the companies of Groves Brothers Quarries and Alfred Groves and Son, builders and English timber merchants, were founded. The quarrying and timber businesses have since closed but the building side continues.

Alfred Groves with children Sarah (left), Mary (right) and Thomas, 1856.
Alfred Groves with his workmen, early 1900s

This photograph is believed to have been taken during the extension of the present Bruern Abbey.

Groves’ horse team, about 1920.

Horses, singly or in pairs, were used to drag tree trunks out of the woods. They were then harnessed as a team to haul the load by wagon back to Milton.

Although Milton stone is not as famous as that at Taynton, it was quarried adjacent to the Taynton stone by the Hazleford Brook and on the hill- side south of the village. Flagstones, used for flooring and paving, came from ‘plank quarries’. Dressed stone for building was quarried as vast lumps which were sawn by hand. Some of the colleges of Oxford are built of Milton stone.

Groves Brothers quarrymen, about 1900

Ben Pratley is seated on the left. Eli Trotman and Christopher Miles stand in the back row, fourth and fifth from the left.

Stonecutters at Groves’ Yard, 1926

Jim Puddle and Ned Rathband are using a cross-cut saw to shape the stone. Stonemasons Bill Yateman, Thomas Groves, Alfred Sheppard and Leslie T ownsend stand in the background.

Ben Pratley stone breaking, about 1900.

Ben Pratley was a Milton quarryman who lived in Magpie Alley off Church Street, Shipton. He was a quarry mason which ranked between a building mason and a field mason.

Wychwoods Album Menu

This is one of series of snapshots taken from the Society’s publications “The Wychwoods Albums”. These publications from the mid to late 1980s feature a variety of images of the Wychwoods, all of which deserve a place in our expanding online archive.

Select from:

The Shaven Crown | Shipton Village Panorama | Shipton Post Office 1908/10 | Shipton Views Early 1900s | Aspects of Milton 1900s-1930s| Milton & Shipton Churches | Early 20th Century School Life | Shipton Court in 1895-1910 | Road and Rail | Matthews Mill, Shipton | Alfred Groves – a Historic Family Business | Vintage Transport and Deliveries | Agriculture and Manufacturing | Some Local Wychwoods Characters| Wychwoods Group Activities| Wychwoods Album Home